We are halfway there!
We are delighted to report that, late yesterday afternoon (July 7th), the PA House of Representatives formally approved an additional year of public school for those in special education who turned 21 this past school year, and would otherwise age out now. The necessary language was included in the omnibus Education Bill - HB 1642 (see page 40, section 1383 - you can download the entire 137 page bill here) which was approved by a 180-20 margin. The language appears to be identical to Act 66 with respect to students with IEPs, except that this year parents will have until August 1st to indicate their preferences to their school district.
Late last night, the Senate formally approved HB 1642 by a 46-4 margin. This morning, House leaders signed the bill. As of the writing of this post, we are just awaiting the signature of the Senate leaders and of course Governor Wolf, at which point it becomes the law. For those youths in special education aging out of public school this year, we are almost there!
But Fix66 had also identified those aging out of public school next year as likely to need additional schooling to catch up from Covid - HB 1642 does not grant these youths an extra year. So with respect to our overall goals, we are not quite halfway there. The good news is that lawmakers have demonstrated that they are aware of these needs and are ready to listen to concerned parents. And there is still time to advocate before these youths also age out.